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We began around 2pm at Kjell's new little bachelor pad, not far from downtown in a quiet little neighborhood. He usually only has Budweiser and corn liquor in the house, but since he knew I was coming, he classed it up a little bit and bought some IPA (can't remember which) and a half-case of Alaskan White. I was itching to get on the path, so we made quick work of our first beers and set off for our first stop. A light rain was beginning to roll in.
Downrigger's Restaurant is inside the Landing Mall, right on the Port Angeles waterfront, next to the Victoria, B.C. ferry terminal. The entrance to the bar is far removed from the entrance to the building, so leaving Link outside was not an option. We brought him inside the mall and hitched him up just outside the Downrigger's lounge. Sometimes it's best not to ask and just do it. If anyone complained, I was ready to comply and move on to the next stop, but no one seemed to have a problem with it.
The lounge area at Downrigger's has a stunning view of the port, even on a gray, rainy day like this. The tanker being offloaded about a half-mile away looked impossibly huge, like Darth Vader's Executor Super Star Destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back. The lounge itself had a really strange vibe to it -- eerily quiet and still. There were a lot of seniors around (it was still pretty early at this point, about 3pm) all of the TVs were off, and the only music playing was coming from the dining area in the next room. It was coma-inducing harp music, like you might hear in a funeral home. Bizarre. We all had 12 oz. mugs of Port Townsend Scotch Ale (except Kjell, who had a Blue Moon) while Link watched patiently through the door. It was a view he'd be very used to by the end of this hike.
It wasn't long before the trail ended at a locked gate, near the guard shack at the entrance to the wastewater plant (see far left of this photo). Several of us groaned at the idea of backtracking and getting back on the trail and I struggled to explain to everyone that this somehow wasn't my fault. One fellow hiker, Malcolm, was not deterred, however. He walked right up to the gate and found that the gate was indeed chained, but the padlock was not fully closed. A dummy lock? A mistake? Either way, we were lucky. We let ourselves out (or in, I'm still not sure which) and climbed Ennis Creek Road up to US-101 and our next beer stop, Joshua's.
We picked up another hiker, Michelle, and headed back toward downtown P.A. Just as we passed a liquor store, Kjell remarked that it would be great to do some root beer barrels when we got home. This was the best idea I'd ever heard. Without a second thought, I veered in and bought a bottle of Root Beer Schnapps. If for some reason they were out of it, I would have torched that place.
After about 2 miles we were back in downtown Port Angeles and at Michael's, a very charming little downstairs restaurant with a classy little nook of a bar nestled right in the middle. We couldn't see Link from where we sat, but since the alley entrance is bright and open, I felt comfortable hitching him up outside. We all took turns checking on him and feeding him treats. I ordered an Old Rasputin and we all shared some phenomenal crab artichoke dip. As we were finishing up, a party of about 20 was arriving. Good timing.
Bar Nine (aka: Bar N9ne) was next and only about 1/3 of a mile away. Kjell's old friend (and consultant for this hike) Mark finally met up with us here, bringing the group up to six people. This was easily the trendiest place we visited. It has a very modern set-up inside with plenty of room. Wednesday happens to be karoke night, so we powered through our beers (Silver City Red for me) and got the fuck out before that nightmare started. Just looking at the microphones and video screens all set up and waiting gave me the chills. We didn't have anything to eat at Bar 9, but I will definitely try to make it back next time I visit. I've heard good things.
I purposely put Peaks Brewpub near the end of the hike because I suspected we'd spend more time here. This is where the Port Angeles beer geeks hang -- and for good reason. The tap list is the best in town and the house beers are very solid. It reminded me of an older, smaller, more intimate Naked City Taphouse. I don't remember what I had to drink, but three of them were house beers and I really liked them all. (It was here that I thought I lost my notepad, only to find it hours later, safely stowed in my backpack. Drunken idiot...) Of all the places we went, I was most surprised that they weren't dog-friendly here. It's a very warm environment with a very casual feel -- not unlike Beveridge Place Pub in Seattle. But alas, Link once again had to wait for us outside. He was getting irritated, I'm sure, and I don't blame him. Little did he know, the worst was yet to come.
After a good long time at Peaks, we headed toward home and our last stop of the night. When we got to Mark's place we were greeted by the biggest dog I have ever seen. Diesel, a 16-month old Great Dane, had found his new favorite toy: Link. While the rest of us drooled over Mark's newly finished kegerator and drank pints of Wildcat IPA, Diesel proceeded to methodically strip away the last remnants of Link's energy. They were going to play whether Link liked it or not. I'd have had more sympathy for Link as he got repeatedly nudged and trounced, but he used to the exact same thing to older dogs when he was a puppy.
|Not my idea|
I'd have to say it was a good day.